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Bank of New York sells stake in mortgage company

(Adds interview, stock price, byline)

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Bank of New York Co. BK.N sold its 49 percent stake in joint venture BNY Mortgage Co. to EverBank Financial Corp., the majority stakeholder, for an undisclosed price, the companies said on Monday.

BNY Mortgage says it is the fifth-largest U.S. provider of reverse mortgages, which let people borrow against equity in their homes and convert what they borrow into cash.

Kevin Heine, a Bank of New York spokesman, said the transaction is “consistent with the bank’s recent strategic moves to focus on asset management and securities servicing.”

Last Oct. 1, Bank of New York swapped its 338-branch network for JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s JPM.N corporate trust business. In December, Bank of New York agreed to pay $16.5 billion for Pittsburgh-based Mellon Financial Corp. MEL.N.

Reverse mortgages are popular among older Americans. Loan advances are not taxable, and loans typically need not be repaid during homeowners’ lifetimes.

BNY Mortgage employs 160 people and has offices in New York, New Jersey and Washington state. The lender, whose roots date to 1971, said it does not make “subprime” mortgages, which are loans to people with poor credit.

“With the bank of New York exiting consumer banking, there was no longer a need for residential mortgage originations,” said Robert Sivori, co-president of BNY Mortgage, in an interview.

Privately held EverBank is based in Jacksonville, Florida. Alliance Mortgage Co., an EverBank predecessor, entered the venture with Bank of New York in 1999. BNY Mortgage will keep its name for a year, Sivori said.

Bank of New York’s merger with Mellon is slated to close around July 1. The combined company, to be known as Bank of New York Mellon Corp., will be one of the world’s largest custody servicers and asset managers.

Shares of Bank of New York fell 10 cents to $40.71 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

((Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, Reuters Messaging:, 646 223 6317; editing by Jane Baird)) Keywords: BANKOFNEWYORK EVERBANK/

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